On at least four occasions, different characters in Dance use alliterative contradictory pairings of artists’ names to emphasize ignorance of art. While this name dropping or name dissing may not be as important as other artistic references for understanding the text, we will join Powell’s fun by providing visual examples of the contradictions.
Touring Stourwater, Jenkins “felt certain that Sir Magnus was secure in the exact market price of every object” there. This reminded Jenkins of Barnby’s description of “a chartered accountant, scarcely aware of how pictures are produced, who could at the same time enter any gallery and pick out the most expensive work there ‘from Masaccio to Matisse’…” [BM 211/201]
Masaccio (1401-1428) was the first great painter of the Quattrocento in Florence; Henri Matisse (1869-1954) helped lead the great changes in modern art in France in the first half of the twentieth century. To compare their styles on the same subject, we have taken some chronological liberty; the Matisse Adam and Eve was done about twenty years after the scene at Stourwater, but before Powell wrote BM. While the Masaccio is priceless and unavailable, today the chartered accountant could buy the Matisse lithograph (from an edition of 320) from Caroline Wiseman Modern and Contemporary for £1000 (accessed 12/1/13).